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City to begin using barnacles for parking enforcement Tuesday as one-month parking ticket amnesty ends

A barnacle placed on a car windshield similar to the ones that the City of Cheyenne has begun this year placing on vehicles with multiple outstanding parking tickets. (City of Cheyenne)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — With the end of the City of Cheyenne’s one-month amnesty period for overdue parking tickets Tuesday, the city will begin using barnacles on vehicles owned by drivers that have routinely avoided paying parking fines in the city.

The city had held the amnesty period from Jan. 31 to Monday in response to what Mayor Patrick Collins called Cheyenne’s “elephant in the room” in a city release of growing amounts of unpaid parking tickets, which the city stated had accumulated to over $200,000 in two years. During that time, violators were able to pay overdue parking tickets without the application of late fees, though fees were added again once the period ended.

With the amnesty now given out and passed on, however, the city is deploying a new device for frequent parking scofflaws in March: the barnacle.

A car barnacle is a device that sticks with suction cups to a vehicle’s windshield with hundreds of pounds of force, immobilizing the vehicle and sounding an alarm that alerts parking enforcement officers if a person attempts to remove the device forcefully. The same also happens if said person attempts to drive away with the barnacle attached, though near-total coverage of the windshield makes it almost impossible to see regardless.

In order to remove the device, the barnacled individual must visit the website or call the phone number located on the barnacle and pay a total of $450 (a $250 “service fee” plus a $200 deposit) to receive a four-digit code to unlock it from the windshield. If the barnacle is returned to the Jack R. Spiker Parking Structure (at 307 W. 17th St.) or the George Cox Parking Structure (at 498 W. 20th St.) at any time within 24 hours of payment, the deposit is refunded.

The barnacle is a modern version of the car boot, a wheel clamp that prevents vehicles with parking violations from being moved without suffering possible damage. It allows drivers to use their phone to remove the hindrance in a “more time-efficient way,” Mayor Collins remarked in the city’s release announcing the move in January, but those who aren’t frequent parking violators won’t have to deal with the device, he noted.

“The world is moving in the direction of technology and parking is no different,” Mayor Collins said in the release. “It’s not our aim to place a Barnacle on any and all offenders, but rather those who have continuously thrown their parking tickets away instead of paying.”

Drivers may request a hearing to contest citations by visiting parkcheyenne.rmcpay.com.